A witch-hunt is a search where they track down people labelled as a “witch” and persecute them. Anyone denounced by at least three people was to be imprisoned, which made it far more probable that most victims were innocent. This process took place throughout  the 15th century up until the 18th. “It resulted in a total of 35’000 to 100’000 thousand executions world wide”. Fear, shame and confusion were all emotions that led to the start of witch-hunts, and were triggered by numerous social and religious factors.The extended Valais Witch Trials, which occured in 1428 to 1447, were the first of many witch hunts since they inspired the future trials that came after them such as the Salem Witch Trials (1692-93) in the United States or the Affair of the Poisons (1679) in France.  These trials took place in the Valais, modern Switzerland, commencing the witch trials in Europe. It took place in the Lower Valais, a French speaking region,  and expanded to the upper part therefore the Upper Valais, where they predominantly spoke German.  Unfortunately, these persecutions were badly documented making the clerk, Johannes Frund’s, contemporary chronicles the only valuable source. Yet, it demonstrates an absence of completeness. Nonetheless, the few names known were mostly peasants that were portrayed as informed and, ironically, literate. This matter is worthy of discussion as it was considered the first series of witch hunt trials in Europe and abroad. This specific witch trial reflected an emphasis of hysteria and absolute confusion. The Valais Witch Trial was utilized as inspiration and encouraged future trials to proceed. The main causes that led to the Valais Witch Trials was the misleading translation of the bible, the Malleus Maleficarum, and misogyny towards women. The Bible plays a substantial role as a cause to the development of the Valais Witch Trials. The increased readership of the Bible happened due to it being translated into a venacular, the language or dialect spoken by the people of a country or region, which made it more accessible to other groups in the feudal system. Through the printing press the translation was utilized as a form of propaganda, exerting influence on society. Most of the translations were misleading and caused chaos in civilization, in worst-case scenario leading to death and torture.  An example of this is Exodus 22:18 that states “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”, whereas the definition of witch was supposed to be poisoner or someone who works in darkness and mutters things. This false interpretation motivated and allegedly forgave stupendous forms of punishments on those accused. John Calvin, a French theologian and reformer, attentively studied the Bible. Throughout his extended studies he expressed the idea of predestination, the doctrine that God has ordained all that will happen, inferring that some people chosen by God, had a safe path to Heaven despite their actions. That sparked sinners, due to the shame that came with the realisation that they weren’t the “chosen ones”. From a psychological perspective, people who are ashamed and embarrassed tend to derive onto another person, in attempt of relief. Another example of this is when a poverty-stricken person begs for money. Brian P.Levack, American Historian of early modern Britain and Europe, states that “by depicting the unaided person as a witch and therefore as a moral aggressor unworthy of support, he could rid himself of the guilt that he was experiencing”.  This essentially means that by representing the beggar as a witch, the sinner is able to get rid of his sins, therefore implying that he is deriving the guilt onto someone else.  In this situation, the wrongdoers portrayed innocent people as witches to get rid of their sins. Those prosecuted had gunpowder bags attached to their necks and were later on crucified, if not tortured to death. The different translations of the Bible, caused misunderstanding and confusion among communities that promoted accusations leading to witch trials. Accusations varied for instance: flying through air, lycanthropy which is the mythical transformation of a person into a wolf, invisibility by the use of herbs, the curing of sickness and paralysis by sorcery, and last but not least cannibalism.

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